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New farmers market opens in Flanders

Strawberries Their thin-skinned and permeable surface places strawberries

Strawberries
Their thin-skinned and permeable surface places strawberries among fruits containing the highest levels of pesticides. Photo Credit: Getty Images

In a community devoid of supermarkets and fresh farm products, and surrounded by an area famous for its farm fresh vegetables and fruits, a new farmers market will open this weekend.

The Town of Southampton-run Flanders Farm Fresh Food Project will open at Flanders Crohan Community Center, 665 Flanders Rd. (Route 24) Saturday. It is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday throughout October.

The fresh food will come from eight local farms, according to town officials. The market will accept food stamps and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers, as well as WIC vouchers, a federal program to provide nutrition to low-income pregnant and nursing mothers.

The idea was to model the market after similar ones in Roosevelt and Bellport, said Southampton Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who spearheaded the Flanders project. The market is being funded with a $10,000 grant from the town and run with assistance from Sustainable Long Island, a not-for-profit group interested in economic and ecological growth.

“Based on the agricultural heritage and current agriculture culture of our area, and that the Flanders area does not have a grocery store, it seemed to me to be a perfect fit,” Fleming said.

The farm will also employ teens interested in learning skills related to the farmers market business.

The hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton have few avenues to buy fresh foods locally, according to Fleming. The closest supermarkets are in Riverhead or Hampton Bays.

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